stimulus package

COVID Relief Deal Could Have Big Impact on South Florida Businesses

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The new COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress includes billions of dollars to help businesses.

This relief deal comes more than seven months after the first applications for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program opened -  a program that was included in the CARES Act.

Those federal funds helped businesses across the country, including thousands in South Florida.

“These loans will be readily available to businesses and in South Florida, we have been really hard-hit, the restaurant industry, the hospitality industry,” said Steven Klein, a certified public accountant, when asked about the new relief package.

Klein is a managing partner with accounting firm Gerson Preston Robinson and Co. in Miami.

He says the second round of PPP money in the new relief package may come with stricter criteria for businesses, but it also offers added perks when it comes to how businesses can use the funds.

“PPE-related items, gearing up the restaurant to deal with it physically, and you can use it for perishable food. This may seem like no big deal, but for a restaurant, that can be the difference between serving food and not serving food,” Klein said.

The relief package includes $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and news outlets, and $20 billion in grants for businesses in low-income communities.

It’s additional funding many South Florida businesses still need.

A survey of 262 local businesses conducted in July by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce showed, after PPP money was dispersed, nearly 28% of respondents were still in need of additional funding.

“Close to 45% of the companies we surveyed said they didn’t let go of any of their employees. We don’t think that would have been possible without the assistance of PPP and EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan),” said Alfred Sanchez, the president of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Sanchez says a full economic recovery hinges not just on another relief bill but also on how we respond to the virus.

“We have got to follow CDC guidelines and social distance and use masks and we have to be religious about that,” Sanchez said.

The relief package also addresses additional funding for the transportation industry. It includes roughly $15 billion for airlines to pay their workers.

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